The accreditation of a testing laboratory proves that the laboratory produces reliable results with the testing methods that are included in its scope of accreditation. Accredited testing laboratories are industrial laboratories, service laboratories and public research laboratories. Examples of laboratory fields include food, drinking water, environmental water and soil samples, emission measurements, as well as the testing of materials and products.
Testing laboratories use accreditation as a means to demonstrate their competence to their clients. Many tendering processes both in Finland and abroad require that competence is demonstrated through accreditation. Many authorities utilise accreditation when approving organisations for official duties. In such cases, competence requirements have been defined in legislation.
The quality management system of an accredited testing laboratory complies with the principles of ISO 9001. The international organisations ISO, ILAC and IAF have stated this compliance in their joint resolution (on the ILAC website).
There is close cooperation between authorities in different areas on the development of operations and the exchange of information in the accreditation of testing activities. Examples include the testing of building products in accordance with the EU product legislation (Ministry of the Environment) and testing relating to vehicles, traffic and railroads (Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom).
A technical support group called VERA has been set up for water, food and animal feed analysis, as well as for healthy building analysis (additional information on VERA).
Accreditation of testing laboratories is also implemented in cooperation with international programmes in various fields. The cooperation includes the assessment of doping laboratories with WADA and medical testing with EDQM, for example.
Requirements and guidelines (updated 13th of November 2020)
Accreditation requirement for testing laboratories is one of these standards:
SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories
SFS-EN ISO 15189:2012 Medical laboratories - Requirements for quality and competence
Mandatory guidelines relating to accreditation of testing laboratories
Guidelines relating to testing laboratories
Examples of guidelines for testing laboratories are given below. The list does not necessarily cover all guidelines prepared for the accredited activities. Guidelines relating to testing are also published by Eurachem and Eurolab. The guidelines are available at https://eurachem.org/ and https://www.eurolab.org/
Publications of FINAS that support the activity of testing laboratories
Accredited bodies are entitled to use the FINAS accreditation symbol, which consists of the FINAS logo, the accredited body's identification number and the accreditation requirement. The FINAS accreditation symbol must be used when the accredited body refers to the accreditation in its reports, for example.
Accredited testing laboratories use an identifier in which the identification number of the accredited body is of the format TXXX.